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Board FAQ’s

What is the purpose of the Board of Fire Commissioner?

The Spokane Valley Board of Fire Commissioners, consisting of five elected individuals, is responsible for governing the operations of the District. The board is generally responsible for the following areas:

  1. Determining levels of service and establishing goals.
  2. Determining type and level of funding, approve budgets, tax levies.
  3. Establishing policies and approve operational procedures.
  4. Employing key personnel, supervising chief.
  5. Guiding strategic planning.
  6. Representing District to public
What is the role of each elected Fire Commissioner?
It is important to note that individual fire commissioners have no individual authority to operate a fire protection district. Instead, individual commissioners have the following responsibilities:
  • Attend meetings of the board of commissioners.
  • Educate themselves to understand the history of our District, the laws governing the operation of the District and the individual’s role in governing the District.
  • Actively participate in the governance of the District by working with the board of commissioners in open public meetings.
  • Understand and comply with all ethics laws.
  • Act as a representative of your District with a professional demeanor.
  • Avoid any attempts to unilaterally direct staff members or micromanage the staff. The board of commissioners runs the District through the Chief, individual commissioners do not, and should not, attempt to run the District.
  • Represent all constituents and avoid special interests. Maintain confidentiality of privileged or private District records and information
How do I let a Fire Commissioner know my opinion on an issue?
There are several ways to contact an individual Fire Commissioner to share your thoughts, opinions or to simply ask questions. One, send an email to the Chair of the Fire Commissioners, as listed on the web page and he or she will be sure other commissioners or staff are aware of your topic. You can call a individual commissioner and share your thoughts but please remember, an individual fire commissioner has no authority to operate any portion of the fire district; staff, facilities, equipment or operation procedures in the field. With that said, know your thoughts and concerns will be taken into consideration and will be forwarded to the board or administrative staff for review.
How do I comment on a Fire Commissioner Meeting?
In the ‘Days of Old’. prior to Covid-19 guidelines, you would simply attend a regularly scheduled commissioners meeting and share your thoughts with the board during the Public Input section. With new guidelines, our process is easier. Prior to a regularly scheduled board meeting which occurs the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month, you simply go to www.Spokanevalleyfire.com and post your comment prior to 2:00 p.m. and it will be submitted for review by the Board Chair. The good news is that you do not even have to leave the comfort of your office or your home to attend a Spokane Valley Fire Department Commissioners meeting. The Chair will take the information you submitted into consideration and then distribute to the appropriate personnel; to all commissioners, the Fire Chief, or both.
Is there a way to comment even if I miss the meeting?

Comments are always welcome! Please use our web page to send a thought, email the board chair or an individual commissioner. Phone calls are welcome as well.

How do I watch a Commissioner meeting?
Visit our webpage at www.spokanevalleyfire.com and login to either our regular scheduled meetings or our work sessions. Dates and time are posted on the web page.
What if I miss the meeting, is there a way to watch later?
All the Spokane Valley Fire Board of Commissioners meetings are recorded and are included on the Spokane Valley Fire webpage.
How can I schedule a meeting with a Fire Commissioner?
All the members of the Spokane Valley Fire Department have other work commitments outside the duties of being a fire commissioner. If you want to meet with an individual commissioner, please find their email information on the website and contact them directly. If you just want to meet with a commissioner at-large, send an email to the current Board Chair and they will make sure that you get a response. Please know that with Covid-19 regulations or suggested guidelines, these meetings may be by phone or virtual based.
How Can I request a Fire Commissioner to attend an event or speak at an event?

Each commissioner is actively involved in the community and would welcome the opportunity to attend or speak at an event. Currently, under Covid-19 regulations or suggested guidelines, these meetings may need to be virtual, by phone or in very small groups with suggested spacing recommended. When Covid-19 becomes a ‘past memory’ other options will be openly received.

Did you Know?

 

  • You should replace the batteries in your smoke alarms twice a year.
  • Creating a defensible space with regards to wildfires could just save your home or property.

Commissioner Patrick Burch

Board Member Since: July 18, 2016
Current term expires: December 31, 2025

Commissioner Burch was appointed to the Board of Fire Commissioners in July 2016 to fill an unexpired term and has served continuously since that time. Commissioner Burch is co-owner and Business Manager of Neurotherapy Northwest. He became a volunteer member of the Department’s CERT Team in 2008 and later served as a team leader/member of Fire Corps.

“I admire the Spokane Valley Fire Department’s focus on continuous improvement. Our dedication to the community, fiscal responsibility and the fact that we are one of the few accredited fire departments in the State of Washington all make SVFD great!”

Note: As the individual appointed to this non-partisan position, Commissioner Burch was elected by voters in November 2017.

Commissioner Mike Kester

Board Member Since: January 1, 2020
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2025

Commissioner Mike Kester was elected to the Board of Fire Commissioners in November, 2019.

Commissioner Kester grew up in the Spokane area and has a deep appreciation for just how fortunate we all are to live in this beautiful area. He believes that being involved in this community is not something to take lightly.

His background includes joining the United States Coast Guard (U.S.C.G) after high school and serving on a port firefighting boat doing search and rescue in Portland, Oregon.  After the Coast Guard, he attended the University of Montana earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Resource Management.  He then went on to work for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, serving in their Parks Department.

Spokane was the next step in his career. He  went to work for the Burlington Santa Fe Railroad and the next 22 years was spent as a conductor moving freight. Commissioner Kester  retired in 2010 after a workplace injury and now,  he and his wife enjoy making meals for World War II Veterans, helping out at the YMCA ,and providing meals for those in need.

“In the 25 years of being a resident of the Spokane Valley the professionalism of the SVFD has inspired me to take an active part in bettering our community. We have one of the best fire departments in the whole Pacific Northwest. My wife and I have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. I have dedicated my life to keeping them safe.  I want to apply that dedication to our community.  Keeping us all safe is a goal we should all aspire to in one way or another. Communication within the department and with the public is, and always will be one of my primary goals.”

Commissioner John Guarisco

Board Member since: August 27, 2018
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2027

Commissioner Guarisco was appointed to the Board of Fire Commissioners in August 2018 to fill an unexpired term and has served continuously since that time. Commissioner Guarisco founded Marjoni Marketing in 2004 and in 2010 merged with MDI marketing. He then pursued Real Estate, earning his license and now, currently serves the greater Spokane area as a licensed Realtor. He has long been active in the community and has won numerous awards during his career including the Volunteer of the Year (2014) and the Community Caring Award (2010) from the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce.  He is a member of the Greater Spokane Valley Rotary Club and holds an AA degree from Spokane Falls Community College.

Note: As the individual appointed to this non-partisan position, Commissioner Guarisco was elected by voters in November 2019.

Commissioner Bill Anderson

Board Member since: January 1, 2000
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2023

Commissioner Anderson served our community as a Spokane Valley Fire Department firefighter for 29 years. Throughout his career, he worked as a firefighter, dispatcher and engineer before he was promoted and became an officer. He was Station Captain of Millwood Station 2 when he retired in 1999. During his years as firefighter, he was an active leader of Spokane Valley Firefighters Local 876 and served as a trustee on the Washington State Council of Firefighters for 25 years.

“It’s important to me that we continue the good service we’ve always given the people. We’ve accomplished a lot and are pulling in the same direction to get better. I’m very proud of the Spokane Valley Fire Department.”

Commissioner Brian Asmus

Board Member Since: June 14, 2021
Current term expires: 

Commissioner Brian Asmus was appointed to the Spokane Valley Fire Department Board of Fire Commissioners in 2021.

Commissioner Asmus is the former Liberty Lake Police Chief and current Director of Safety and Security at Central Valley School District (CVSD).

“Brian Asmus brings extensive Public Safety leadership experience, and a long history of being actively engaged in his community to his new role as a SVFD Commissioner,” said SVFD Fire Chief, Bryan Collins. “During his time as a Police Chief, Brian interacted with SVFD firefighters and administrators on a regular basis, making him very familiar with our structure, standing within our communities, as well as with many of our current SVFD board members and personnel. Brian’s experience working and collaborating on regional issues aligns nicely with SVFD’s philosophy and will help us continue to be a catalyst for local and regional excellence and innovation.”

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